Is my unpaid tax debt considered marital debt in a divorce?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is my unpaid tax debt considered marital debt in a divorce?

Due to circumstances beyond my control, from 2005-2009 my taxes went unfiled (tax preparer going to jail). Anyway I recently got everything re-done and filed. I did so as married but separate, and there is a sizable balance due. I also recently filed for a divorce. Is she liable for half of that tax debt in a divorce settlement?

Asked on February 11, 2011 under Family Law, Utah

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, insofar as the IRS is concerend, by filing separately your wife will avoid liability for unpaid taxes due on your return (plus penalties and interest).  As to her liabilbity for this debt in a divorce, it all boils sown to whether or not such debt is considered to be "marital debt".  If you both had filed jointly typically it would be.  However, since you filed married but separate, it could be argued that is it your debt and your debt alone.  Conversely it could be argued that the debt was incurred for income earned during the marriage for the joint benefit of the parties or for a valid marital purpose; therefore your wife should also bear responsibility for a portion of it.

Without more specific facts of your case, it is hard to speculate.  Also, laws vary state-to-state as does judicial interpretation.  Right now, you or your wife need to consult with a divorce attorney, or even an accountant, as to the details of your situation.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption